Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Years ago, I used to work with this guy, Jonny B (no, not that JonnyB).

We were a small team, about ten or so of us, and our minhag, like lots of offices, was a whipround for birthdays, and then someone in the team would go out and get a gift. This was better than the previous scenario, where everyone put £20 in the birthday fund, and you were effectively buying your own birthday present. Although, less hassle. And now, I think I probably would find it a big hassle to be constantly organising people's birthdays, but then I thought it was fun.

Anyway, it was this woman Jane's birthday, and JB sat next to her. They were the marketing department. As I said, we were a small team. So it fell to Jonny to get her gift, and he was young and inexperienced in the ways of gift buying as well as the special secrets of womanhood. He dragged me down to La Senza on Oxford Street. I felt slightly... dirty, going to a woman's lingerie shop with a guy fresh out of college. He took his job seriously, and actually had quite good taste, and picked out an unsleazy bra-and-knickers set. I estimated Jane's bra size (accurately, as it turned out) and he grabbed a pair of size large knickers.

"Now, Jonny... " I began.

"But she's got a huge bum," he replied.

Now, Jane was not so slim, but not so fat either. But she probably did wear size large knickers.

"The thing is, Jonny, we need to buy her size medium knickers and let her come back on her own, and change them, if she needs to."

"But that's stupid." Which it was.

"Look Jonny. You just can't buy a woman size large knickers. Believe me."

He was a lad. I tried, through a subtle combination of body language, eyebrow-inference and well-chosen words to explain everything about how women feel about their bodies while standing on one leg.

So we bought the gift, and she was happy, and a few years later we all moved on to different jobs.

Coincidentally, and synchonously, about two years ago, I was walking down Oxford Street, past La Senza, and JonnyB appeared in my path.

"Hey Sasha, how are you? Do you work round here?"

He'd come a long way - to another agency round the corner. He lived in Finchley.

We chatted a bit, and then he said to me, "that advice you gave me? About the knickers? I'm married now."

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